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The Hangover is a comedy film directed by Todd Phillips, written by Jon Lucas and produced by Todd Phillips and Daniel Goldberg. The movie was made for Warner Bros. Productions and made by Legendary Pictures. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, and Heather Graham.

The main plot follows four friends who travel to Las Vegasmarker for a bachelor party, only to wake up the next morning not remembering a thing and missing the groom, whose wedding is scheduled to occur the next day. The film was released in North America on June 5, 2009, to critical praise and box office success.

Plot

Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to be married to Tracy (Sasha Barrese), and his friends — Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and soon-to-be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) — take him to Las Vegasmarker for a bachelor party. Tracy's father lends them his car, a vintage Mercedes convertible for the trip. The four get a villa at Caesars Palacemarker hotel and casino, then sneak onto the roof and toast to the night ahead. The next morning, the three groomsmen wake up in the suite with no memory of the previous night, and realize that Doug is missing. Clues abound: the suite is in severe disorder, a tiger is in the bathroom, a baby is in the closet, Stu is missing a tooth, one of the suite's mattresses is impaled on a statue outside, Phil is wearing a hospital bracelet, Stu has an $800 ATM receipt, and a valet brings them a stolen police cruiser they dropped off the night before.

While retracing their steps, a doctor at the hospital informs them that they had traces of roofies in their blood, explaining their memory loss, and that they came from a wedding. They find the chapel, and learn that Stu, despite planning to propose to his controlling girlfriend Melissa, married a stripper named Jade (Heather Graham), the mother of the baby in the closet. On the parking lot, they escape an attack by two armed Asian gangsters who beat up the police car yelling "where is he?". Confused, the men visit Jade's apartment and return the baby, but are taken by surprise and arrested for stealing the police cruiser. Phil negotiates their release in exchange for the three groomsmen "volunteering" as targets for a taser demonstration. They then retrieve the Mercedes from an impound lot and discover a naked Asian man in the trunk. The man attacks them and runs away, and Alan admits to spiking their drinks the night before with what he thought was ecstasy, but realizes the drug dealer must have sold him roofies instead. They return to the hotel and find former boxing champion Mike Tyson in their room, who was looking for his stolen tiger. Tyson knocks out Alan and orders them to return the pet to his mansion. They drug the tiger with roofies and transport it in the Mercedes, but before they reach Tyson's mansion, it wakes up and destroys the car's interior. Tyson plays security footage of the groomsmen's activities from the night before in an effort to help them locate Doug.

Resuming their search, the three are confronted by the thugs, who, as it turns out, are led by the naked man they found in the trunk of their car, Leslie Chow. According to Chow, the groomsmen have $80,000 of his money, which they accidentally took the night before. Chow demands it back in exchange for Doug, whom he has kidnapped. Unable to find the money, Alan uses his knowledge of card counting to win it playing blackjack. The money is repaid, but Chow had kidnapped a different Doug, who turns out to be the drug dealer who sold Alan the roofies. After a conversation with the Doug the drug dealer, Stu remembers that hotel windows do not open in Las Vegas; he infers that the mattress on the statue must have been thrown from the roof, that the group must therefore have been on the roof at one point, and that they likely locked a sleeping Doug there as a prank. Rushing back to the hotel, they find him with less than four hours before the wedding. Stu and Jade agree that they cannot remain married, but promise to meet the following weekend to see what develops between them. Jade also reveals that Stu had pulled out his own tooth on a dare from Alan. As they rush home and make it to the wedding, Doug discovers he has Chow's $80,000 worth of casino chips in his pockets. Doug marries Tracy, and Stu breaks up with Melissa. As the reception ends, Alan reveals a digital camera he discovered in the back seat of the Mercedes chronicling the events they were unable to remember, and the four agree to look at the pictures only one time before destroying the evidence.

Cast

Alan, Stu, and Phil.
  • Bradley Cooper as Phil Wenneck, a schoolteacher bored with married life and the groom's best friend.
  • Ed Helms as Stu Price, a dentist and friend of the groom with a strict and controlling girlfriend.
  • Zach Galifianakis as Alan Garner, the socially awkward, soon to be brother-in-law of the groom
  • Justin Bartha as Doug Billings, the groom
  • Heather Graham as Jade, a stripper and single mother who marries Stu
  • Sasha Barrese as Tracy Garner, the bride
  • Rachael Harris as Melissa, Stu's tight-leash girlfriend. Harris previously co-starred with Helms on The Daily Show.
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Sid Garner, father of the bride.
  • Bryan Callen as Eddie Palermo, owner of the "Best Little Wedding Chapel"
  • Rob Riggle as Officer Franklin.
  • Cleo King as Officer Garden.
  • Ken Jeong as Leslie Chow, a small effeminate Las Vegas gangster who demands his lost prize money.
  • Mike Epps as Black Doug, a drug dealer.
  • Logan Hoover as "Carlos", Jade's baby who's real name turns out to be Tyler.


Cameos

  • Mike Tyson as himself
  • Todd Phillips as Mr. Creepy. The director of The Hangover appears briefly in an elevator; he sports a moustache, wears sunglasses, and is accompanied by a woman.
  • Mike Vallely as Neeco, the high speed tuxedo delivery man
  • Wayne Newton as himself, in photo slide show
  • Carrot Top as himself, in photo slide show
  • Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band, the wedding band
  • Lucinda Jenney in a non-speaking appearance paying tribute to her role as "Iris" in Rain Man (1988). As the groomsmen approach the blackjack table, the camera pans across Jenney, whose dark blue, rhinestone-accented dress is identical to the one she wore as Iris.


Production

Writing

The plot was reportedly inspired by a real-life event that happened to Tripp Vinson, a producer friend of The Hangover executive producer Chris Bender. Vinson had gone missing from his own Las Vegas bachelor party, blacking out and waking up "in a strip club being threatened with a very, very large bill [he] was supposed to pay".

The original script written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore sold to Warner Brothers for more than 2 million dollars. The story was about three pals who lose the groom at his Vegas bachelor party and then must retrace their steps to figure out what happened. The script was then rewritten by Jeremy Garelick and director Todd Phillips, who added Mike Tyson and his tiger, the baby, and the police cruiser. The Writers Guild of America did not permit their work to be credited due to what Phillips described as an "insane" and "nebulous" set of rules.

Filming

Fifteen days of filming occurred in Nevadamarker. The fictitious "Best Little Wedding Chapel" was filmed at 1236 S. Las Vegas Boulevard. A few of the driving scenes were filmed along a stretch of California Interstate 210, near the cities of Rialtomarker and San Bernardinomarker.

Helms said filming The Hangover was more physically demanding than any other role he had done, and that he lost eight pounds while making the film. He said the most difficult day of shooting was the scene when Mr. Chow rams his car and attacks the main characters, which Helms said required many takes and was very painful, such as when a few of the punches and kicks accidentally landed and when his knees and shins were hurt while being pulled out of a window. Helms's missing tooth was not created with prosthetics or visual effects, but is naturally occurring: Helms never had an adult incisor grow, and got a dental implant as a teenager which was removed for filming.

Phillips tried to convince the actors to allow him to use a real taser until Warner Brothers lawyers stepped in.

Regarding the explicit shots in the final photo slide show in which his character is seen receiving fellatio in an elevator, actor Zach Galifianakis confirmed that a prosthesis was used for the scene, and that he had been more embarrassed than anyone else during the creation of the shot. "You would think that I wouldn't be the one who was embarrassed; I was extremely embarrassed. I really didn't even want it in there. I offered Todd's assistant a lot of money to convince him to take it out of the movie. I did. But it made it in there."

The scenes involving animals were filmed mostly with trained animals. Trainers and safety equipment were digitally removed from the final version. However, some prop animals were used, such as when the tiger was hidden under a sheet and being moved on a baggage cart. Such efforts were awarded with an "Outstanding" rating by the American Humane Association for the monitoring and treatment of the animals.

Casting

Actors Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper were all casual acquaintances before The Hangover was filmed, which Helms said he believed helped in establishing a rapport and chemistry between their characters. Helms credited director and producer Todd Phillips for "bringing together three guys who are really different, but really appreciate each other's humor and sensibilities". Helms also said the fact that the story of the three characters growing closer and bonding informed the friendship between the three actors: "As you spend 14 hours a day together for three months, you see a lot of sides of somebody. We went through the wringer together, and that shared experience really made us genuine buddies".

Us Weekly reported that Lindsay Lohan turned down the role of Jade, which eventually went to Heather Graham, because the screenplay "had no potential". The article claimed that Lohan's agent "tried hard to get Phillips to consider her, and when he finally agreed, Lindsay said she didn't like the script".

Release

Marketing

The film had a marketing budget of $40 million.

The film had several cross-promotions and corporate partners. The hotel Caesars Palacemarker which featured in the film and their corporate parent Harrah’s Casino Hotels offered a special Hangover package deal. Hangover cure Drinkin Mate ran a promotion offering a free trip to Vegas for whoever sends in the best Vegas story. Fast food restaurant White Castle and skincare company Peter Thomas Roth also ran promotions.

Box office

The Hangover proved to be an overwhelming financial success. On its first day of release, the film drew $16,734,033 on approximately 4,500 screens at 3,269 sites, beating out the big budgeted Land of the Lost — the other major new release of the weekend — for first day take. Although initial studio projections had the Disney/Pixar film Up holding on to the #1 slot for a second consecutive weekend, final revised figures, bolstered by a surprisingly strong Sunday showing, ultimately had The Hangover finishing first for the weekend with $44,979,319 from 3,269 theaters, averaging $13,759 per venue, narrowly edging out Up for the top spot, and more than doubling the take of Land of the Lost, which finished third with $18.8 million. The film beat even Warner Bros. own expectations — which had anticipated it would finish third behind Up and Land of the Lost — benefiting from positive word-of-mouth and critical praise, and a generally negative buzz for Land of the Lost.It stayed at #1 in its second weekend grossing another $32,794,387, from 3,355 theaters for an average of $9,775 per venue, and bringing the 10-day cume to $104,768,489.

As of November 23, 2009, it has grossed $277,162,304 in the United States and Canada, making more than six times its opening as the opening weekend made up only 16.23% of the total gross. It also made an additional $182,100,366 in international markets, for a total worldwide gross of $459,262,670, making it the sixth highest grossing film of 2009 so far, as well as the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever in the United States (second when accounting for inflation), surpassing a record previously held by Beverly Hills Cop for almost 25 years. Out of all R-rated movies, it is the third highest grossing ever in the U.S., behind only The Passion of the Christ and The Matrix Reloaded.

Critical reception

The Hangover has received primarily positive reviews. It holds a 78% positive response rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 193 professional reviews, with the consensus that "with a clever script and hilarious interplay among the cast, The Hangover nails just the right tone of raunchy humor, and the non-stop laughs overshadow any flaw." Film critic Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars out of four, stating "Now this is what I'm talkin' about. The Hangover is a funny movie, flat out, all the way through. Its setup is funny. Every situation is funny. Most of the dialogue is funny almost line by line."

Although widely critically praised, many critics have noted the weak character development, especially in its female characters. Ebert, despite his praise, writes "I won't go so far as to describe it as a character study" but that the film is more than the sum of its parts - parts that may at first seem a little generic or clichéd, since many other films (such as Very Bad Things) have already explored the idea of a weekend in Vegas gone wrong. Critics also complained about racial stereotyping, in particular the Asian gangster.

Music

The score for the movie was composed by Christophe Beck.The movie featured around 20 songs, consisting of music by Kanye West, Dyslexic Speedreaders, Danzig, The Donnas, Usher, Phil Collins, The Belle Stars, T.I., Wolfmother and The Dan Band, who tend to feature in Todd Phillips movies as the inappropriate, bad-mouthed wedding band. The Dan Band also has a version of 50 Cent Hit single "Candy Shop". Right Round by Flo Rida is played over the closing credits.

Soundtrack

  1. "It's Now Or Never" - El Vez
  2. "Thirteen" - Danzig
  3. "Take It Off" - The Donnas
  4. "Fever" - The Cramps
  5. "Wedding Bells" - Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps
  6. "In the Air Tonight" - Phil Collins
  7. "Stu's Song" - Ed Helms
  8. "Rhythm And Booze" - Treat Her Right
  9. "Iko Iko" - The Belle Stars
  10. "Three Best Friends" - Zach Galifianakis
  11. "Ride The Sky II" - Revolution Mother
  12. "Candy Shop" - Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band


Additional songs


Home media

The Hangover will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and UMD on December 15, 2009.

Sequel

Before the release of the film, Entertainment Weekly revealed that Warner Bros. are already planning a sequel for the film. Variety later reported in July 2009 that production on The Hangover 2 will begin in October 2010 for a Memorial Day weekend 2011 release, following the same production schedule used for the first film.

References

  1. www.aveleyman.com/FilmCredit.aspx?FilmID=15562
  2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1119646/locations
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/movies/31itz.html
  4. http://www.moviemarketingmadness.com/blog/2009/06/03/movie-marketing-madness-the-hangover/
  5. 'Up' maintains No. 1 box-office altitude with $44M (AP) Yahoo! Movies
  6. http://boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic/mpaa.htm?page=R&p=.htm
  7. The Hangover at what-song
  8. The Hangover: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at Amazon.com
  9. http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Hangover-Blu-ray/5153/


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